Stephen F Austin to Samuel M Williams, 08-21-1833

Summary: Averted cholera attack. Reforms for Texas when Congress reconvenes. Robertson colony troubles. Instructions for locating a land grant where Austin wished to establish an academy. Warns against speculation. Has suffered much abuse; willing to surrender the lead to others.

[From Williams Papers, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Tex.]

Mexico Augt. 21. 1833 Wednesday

Dr Sir,

Yours of 13 July came to hand yesterday via vera cruz—it was a relief to me for I began to think the cholera had taken you off. I recd the two letters of credit on E W Gregory of one thousand dollars and have not used them yet, but expect shall have to do it in part, at least.

What are considered promonitory simptons of cholera gave me warning since monday of last week. I was then much engaged in trying to get the 11 article of the law of 6 april before congress in a favorable shape and it was to have been sent in on Wednesday, but the cholera prevented a meeting and has done so ever since on that day I fatigued myself very much indeed. This brought my simptons to a crisis, for I was taken about 3 o'clock P. M. with excessive purging of a whitish mucos character, great pain in bowels, cold feet, legs, hands, etc, pains over the body—no cramps—moderate vomiting—this was evidently the first stage of this desease and would probably have passed into the collapse in a short time. It was at this moment I closed a few lines to you by the last mail and applied cholera remidy—in about 3/4 of an hour I was releived by a fine perspiration which I think saved my life, for others have died in less than one hour whose simptons were similar to mine. This desease prostrates the strength to a most astonishing degree. I find that I sensibly feel the effects of the billious attacks I have had in Texas and the quantity of calomel etc I had to take—my stomach is so debilitated that I have to diet with great caution to avoid a relapse.

I think I shall go out tomorrow to Tacubaya—two leagues, where Genl MasonButler and many others have retired some time since— all kind of business is suspended. I must wait untill the cholera subsides. I fully believe that 11 article of law of 6 april 1830 will be repealed in a few days after business is resumed again and the state question I think will be placed on favorable grounds and will also succeed—tho I may be deceived.

Sterling Robinson [Robertson] has presented to the State Govt a long memorial about his business in which there are depositions taken before Chrisman to prove that he introduced a great number of settlers which I took away from him etc. how he could get men to state such falsehoods or agents to advocate and arrange them I am at a loss to imagine—it has really surprised me—it seems that I shall never learn to suspect mankind or to know, untill I am driven into mysanth[r]opy.

As to the man you talked with at Orleans who said he would take a different course and induce his brother to do so—I can only say that God can certainly change the negro to a white man, but that is a miracle not common in our days, what I mean is that envy, jealoucy, malignity when once deeply fixed in the human heart and fostered by boyish and silly vanity, are not easily rooted out, nor easily controuled.

The holders of 11 L. grants ask three four and even $10000 for them—que tal—many of them will be lost for October is the limit for the locations. I am anxious to secure the 11 L tract surveyed by Brown east of colorado foot of mountains, do not neglect this and put it in the name of Jose Maria Aguirre in preference to the others—attend to them all, I want that place to get out of trouble for I mean to go and live there—it is out of the way and will do for an academy scheme with which I can amuse myself and do good to others. I have not seen Gen Mexia he is with SantanaZavala is at Toluca, has only been a few hours in Mexico since I arrived he will be in after the cholera is over. Mexia is the most firm republican there is in this country and I believe one of the most honest and best men in it—they are both friends of the state question. Don Victor has been more bitter than anyone I have heard of—he is now much softened down and is not a violent enemy. He is a decided friend to the repeal of the april law.

Close all the important colony business as quick as possible, and keep clear of speculators, they are friends just so long as is necessary to get a hold on one, by which ruin or disgrace can be brought on and no longer—caution John against all speculators and take care not to involve me or my name. I had rather herd with vermin than with that class of human beings. Write to Perry that I am well—and think that I am cholera proof. I hope they may be fever proof this year, but I tremble for them after the overflow—they ought to go to chocolate bayou. No one writes to me. I know not whether you are all dead or alive. I got one letter from John late in June—this is the only one—how is little Stephen and Henry Austins family and my sister and how is Perry getting on at peach point and a thousand things that someone might write me.

I hope Sarah and children are all well and all goes on harmoniously. I shall spare no labor on this trip, for it is my last—others are desirous to take the lead and I am quite anxious they should. I confess that I am tired of abuse which I never have merrited, and do what I may I expect nothing else from one set in Texas, tho they are poor devils, unprincipled, brutal and ungenerous and ungrateful—with all the errors and infernal Spanish prejudices and ignorance of these people, I cannot help but feel a great anxiety for their welfare and prosperity—they wish to be free and to be like the rest of the civilized world and I think it is more noble to try and aid them and encourage, than to abuse and ridicule. Do try and soften some of our rough boys as to the Bexar people. I assure you that all Texas is greatly in debt to Bexar for the remonstrance of 19 Decr last—that paper was reprinted here and has had more weight in favor of Texas, than all that has been done or said. I doubt much whether the memorial of the convention would have been even looked at, had not the minds of Govt, been prepared by the Bexar representation. It came from natives and is believed. I was fully aware of all this—an therefore wasted so much time and pains to effect that object for which some of our boys abused me— vaya. I hope soon to be once far in beyond their reach—two trips to Bexar in the dead of winter exposed to rain and Indians, and a trip to Mexico all on my own expense, and get brutal slander for pay—none but a fool, a poor devil wrould continue to serve people who treated him in that way, or would suffer others to do it. I will however do my duty and serve them faithfully, at the risk of life and all I am worth. I have undertaken to do it and I will do it—but for the future I will try and look to my own comfort a little more and keep myself free from such enormous responsibilities which none but an honest and liberal man can comprehend or appreciate. I ought to despise my slanderers and do despise them, but it sours me with human nature. I am too apt to run into extremes. I followed conciliation to a great extreme from a sense of duty to the settlers— and I am not in danger of falling into its opposite extremes.

[Stephen F. Austin.]